Volume 22, Number 12 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 7 - 13, 2009
Downtown Express file photo
Pedaling south near Prince St. on Lafayette St. during last year’s “Summer Streets.”
Car-free street fair returns Saturday
For the next three weekends, seven miles of New York City streets will be closed three Saturdays as part of the city’s “Summer Streets” program.
Introduced last year by the city Dept. of Transportation, Summer Streets closed off sections of several major streets in Manhattan in order to encourage alternative transportation — walking, biking, and rollerblading — and offered free events throughout each day. This year’s program, which begins August 8, includes free salsa and tennis lessons as well as live music. The route will be the same this year – Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park via Lafayette St., Fourth and Park Aves. then 72nd St. Cars will also not be allowed on those streets from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 15 and 22nd.
The events will also serve as a stage for the winners of the “Bike in Style” contest, sponsored by LMVH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Students from the Fashion Institute of Technology designed biking gear for the contest, focusing on style as a motivation to create clothing and other items for the contest.
“I thought last year it was going to cause havoc in the community,” said John Fratta, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee. “For the most part I was pretty pleased. It was a nice event.” He said he supports the event this year.
As part of this year’s “Summer Streets” events, Stanton St., between Allen and Orchard St. will be closed Sundays. The events are sponsored by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, and take place in 13 communities citywide. Between one and seven blocks are closed, and the event drives foot traffic to local businesses.
“The challenge in this city is always that people shop where they look, and not where they live,” said Roberto Ragone, executive director at the Lower East Side B.I.D. “It’s a way for people to relax and enjoy themselves, and take inventory and what’s available in this neighborhood.”
The Stanton St. “Weekend Walks” will take place on Aug. 23rd, 30th and Sept. 6th and 13th from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.